J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sundance ’11: Legend of Beaver Dam (short)

What is it outdoorsy types say: “take only memories, leave only blood spatter.” Something like that, right? They are definitely plenty of campers and hikers here in Park City, making Sable & Batalion’s musical horror short The Legend of Beaver Dam (trailer here) a perfect selection for the Sundance Film Festival, where it precedes Jason Eisener’s neo-exploitation film Hobo with a Shotgun.

Danny Zigwitz is not a born scout. Annoyed by the sensitive young geek, the troupe leader humiliates him while telling the story of Stumpy Sam, a figure of campfire lore somewhat in the tradition of Candyman. However, when the murderous bogeyman actually shows up, Zigwitz has a chance to shine while belting out a rock opera anthem that sounds as if it were lifted straight from Rent. Or perhaps not.

Bloody, profane, and subversive, Beaver is considerably funnier than the feature film following it. While you might not leave the theater humming Zigwitz’s big show-stopper, Sable & Batalion’s music is frankly better than it has to be. Midnight movie regulars will also be happy to see makeup specialist Hugo Villasenor’s gore is professional grade.

In truth, Beaver’s humor often works better in a short form than as a full feature, where the need for filler often kills the energy level. For those who do not mind piles of dead kids here and there, it is a pretty funny little horror short. Destined to be a cult favorite, it screens with Hobo today (1/28) and Saturday (1/29) during this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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